How to get incorporated in Georgia is something you need to know in order to avoid unnecessary hassles and problems. Forming a corporation in Georgia involves many steps, each of which has to be properly performed to ensure a smooth filing process. After you have successfully created your corporation, you are required to do a number of things before you can start conducting business.

How to Incorporate Your Business in Georgia

In Georgia, entrepreneurs who wish to form a limited partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation are required to file with the Secretary of State's Corporations Division. This procedure also applies to some out-of-state or foreign entities that conduct business in Georgia. The paperwork required when incorporating a business in Georgia includes:

  • Articles of Incorporation.
  • Notice of incorporation.
  • Bylaws.
  • Initial report.
  • IRS Form SS-4 for obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
  • Form 2553 for S corporation election, if desired.

The cost of incorporating in Georgia includes:

  • Incorporation fee - $100.
  • Notice of incorporation fee - $40.
  • Initial report filing fee - $50.

Steps for Forming a Corporation in Georgia

1. Select a Corporate Structure

C corporation and S corporation are tax classifications with the IRS, not legal structures. A corporation will be taxed as a C corporation unless it elects S corporation status.

2. Check Name Availability

A corporation's legal name must not be too similar to another registered name. Conduct a name search to make sure that your desired name is still available.

3. Appoint a Registered Agent

Your Georgia registered agent must be identified. This person or company will receive lawsuit notices and other legal documents on behalf of your corporation.

4. File Articles of Incorporation

You are required to file Transmittal Information Form Georgia Profit or Nonprofit Corporation (Form BR227) with the Georgia Secretary of State. Filing can be done online or via mail. Turnaround time is five to 12 business days. If you choose to file by mail, submit Form BR227, the original and a copy of the Articles of Incorporation, and a filing fee of $100. In Georgia, the Articles of Incorporation must include the following information:

  • Name of the corporation.
  • Number and classes of shares to be issued.
  • Whether a nonprofit corporation has members.
  • Street address and county of the registered office.
  • Names and addresses of all incorporators.
  • Mailing address of the corporation's principal office.

5. Publish Incorporation

After submitting your Articles of Incorporation to the Secretary of State, you are required to publish your incorporation within the next business day. The publication must be submitted to the approved legal organ in Georgia, which can be obtained from the county clerk's office.

6. File Initial Report

Every Georgia corporation must file the first annual report within 90 days of incorporation. You can submit the report online or print out the Annual Registration Form and submit it by mail.

7. Establish Bylaws and Corporate Records

A corporation is required to permanently keep the following records:

  • Minutes of every shareholder and board of directors meeting.
  • Executed consents showing all actions the shareholders and directors have taken without a meeting.
  • Record of all actions a board committee has taken in the stead of the board of directors.
  • Waivers of notice for every meeting of the board of directors and board committees.

Bylaws are the document that governs a corporation. They may include any provision for managing your corporation and regulating its affairs that is consistent with the Articles of Incorporation and the law. Bylaws will be reviewed and ratified at the first meeting of the board of directors.

8. Obtain an EIN

To get an EIN, you are required to complete Form IRS SS-4 and submit it to the IRS. You can submit the form online or via phone, mail, or fax.

9. Obtain Georgia Tax Identification Numbers and Accounts

Georgia has a consolidated application for state tax registration. Fill out the application and submit it to the Georgia Department of Revenue.

10. Get Business Licenses and Permits

The best way to navigate the extensive array of federal, state, and local business permits and licenses is to search by locality and business type using the Small Business Administration's business license and permit look-up tool.

11. Ongoing Filings

In order to maintain your corporation, you are required to submit federal and state tax returns. Also, corporations in Georgia must file an annual registration.

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